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Talks with No Breakthrough On Iran Nuclear Issue
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The six-party consultations over Iran's nuclear problem ended in Moscow late Tuesday with no decision made, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"No decisions or final documents were issued, and there was no such a goal, because we are all convinced that it is necessary to wait for a report by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Secretary General Mohamed ElBaradei on the Iranian nuclear program at the end of this month," Lavrov was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling a news briefing.

Russia hopes the report by ElBaradei will be first reviewed by the IAEA Board of Governors, and then by the UN Security Council, Lavrov said.

"We think it must be discussed by the Board of Governors before it is referred to the UN Security Council. All participants in the talks unanimously stated that Iran must respond to the Board of Governors' demands, which are well known," Lavrov said.

A source close to the talks was quoted earlier by Russian news agencies as saying that no "breakthrough decisions" were made at the meeting.

"The talks were devoted to working out the consolidated stance of the six countries on Iran," the source said.

US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in Washington after the consultations that "certainly this is an issue where there will be continued discussion."

"This meeting was not intended to reach decisions on a specific course of action," he said.

The Moscow meeting, which was attended by deputy foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council-- the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain -- and Germany, lasted about three hours. It was held behind closed doors.

Also on Wednesday, the USA Today reported that Pentagon will conduct a tactical exercise targeting a possible crisis involving Iran in July.

The exercise, to be staged at the National Defense University, aims to help senior US policymakers, military leaders and lawmakers to explore various options in the scenario of an Iranian crisis, according to the report.

Pentagon officials said the July 18 exercise will develop scenarios based on things that are "fairly current in the real world, but the schedule is set way in advance," and it is designed to "teach and educate people about the complexity of decisions in formulating policy."

The exercise comes amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States over the Iranian nuclear program and recent media reports of increased US military planning against Iran.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2006)

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